Sno-Isle Libraries starts planning for future facilities

SNO-ISLE LIBRARIES NEWS RELEASE: Sno-Isle Libraries starts planning for future facilities

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MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Driven by changes in library services, population growth and some outdated buildings, Sno-Isle Libraries is working on a facilities plan for the next decade.

The tax-supported library district serves nearly 700,000 residents in Snohomish and Island counties and has 21 community libraries. As part of the planning process, people in each community will be invited this fall to say whether and how their library building should change.

“About a third of our libraries are undersized for their service areas. The need for new buildings is already being discussed in cities such as Lake Stevens and Mill Creek,” said Director of Facilities Jeanne Crisp. “In other places, remodels or additions might be desirable. And some libraries are so new that we don’t anticipate any changes in the next 10 years.”

Population growth in formerly rural areas may warrant the construction of additional libraries, Crisp said.

The first step in creating the 2016-2025 facilities plan was hiring a consulting firm, Margaret Sullivan Studio of New York, to take a big-picture, futuristic look at library facilities.

For example, Crisp said, the popularity of downloadable eBooks and movies means there is less need to store print books and DVDs. At the same time, many customers want access to public computers, printers and other technology; meeting rooms and study spaces; even small-business centers and maker-spaces.

Margaret Sullivan Studio will deliver its findings by September. That report will be used by a second company, EnviroIssues of Seattle, as it works with Sno-Isle Libraries staff to create the final facilities plan. EnviroIssues will solicit public comment, gather geographic and demographic information, and coordinate with planning documents of local governments and public agencies.

The final report will be presented to the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees in March.

Updates on the facilities project will be posted online at

That Web page includes a link to “Libraries for the 21st Century: Sno-Isle Libraries Capital Facilities Plan: 2007-2025.”  Some of the recommendations in that 18-year plan have been met, Crisp said, but the recession slowed progress. The quickly evolving nature of library services convinced Sno-Isle Libraries managers that an update was needed and a 10-year timeline was more realistic.